STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS
THE EXPANDED STATE OF CONSCIOUSNESS (HANANPACHA)
For millennia human beings have known, by experience, that “expanded states of consciousness” generate their own genuine knowledge, creative and much-desired gifts, and for this reason they constantly investigate and experiment with ways of bringing about these creative, numinous states.
We know instinctively, through our imaginations or through the memory of personal experience – a day of clarity in the heart of nature, an ecstatic state experienced in childhood – that there exist states of better performance, states of superior quality. This intuition can lead to a search, signifying a gradual change.
Two basic impulses motivate the search for expanded states of consciousness:
1 – on the one hand the desire to find a solution to the feeling of disintegration and lack of well-being typical of Ujupacha (existential angst).
2 – On the other hand a pro-active impulse in search of ecstasy, of the realisation of our unicity, of jubilation, of glory.
To try to make life a more lucid, more beautiful, more joyful, more loving, more pleasurable and more whole experience is one of the basic motivations of the human being.
Subjective things, like creative ideas, the arts, images, visions and metaphors, new sensations, serenity and harmony, well-being – the whole gamut of virtues which lead to happiness – are as attractive and pleasurable for humanity as the physical resources necessary for material sustenance of the body.
Being human does not only involve the effort to sustain and maintain the living organism and life, but also mental development and progress, evolution in the broadest sense, spiritual realisation and the incorporation of more creativity.
Throughout history innumerable techniques have been tried out in order to create expanded states of consciousness. Things like songs, dances, fasts and special diets, exhausting physical trials, prolonged emotional stress, deprivation of the senses or of sleep, emotional states induced by relaxation or by the effective use of surprise (hypnosis), meditation, intense concentration, prayers and mantras, music, dances and rhythms, special breathing, sexuality, contemplation – all these have been and continue to be used by various cultures and sects.
Other technologies like plants and psycho-active gases, containing various alkalis – substances capable of interacting with the neuronal receptors – have been and continue to be widely used in the form of things to smoke, teas and potions. Mushrooms, herbs, plants and various roots have been used for various purposes in almost all cultures. Psyco-active, psychedelic things
are merely useful instruments to reach these states and experiences, and from the medical point of view they are no more to be censured than others.